Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chili, more chili, and cake, oh my!

A couple of nights ago we had a very hastily planned birthday party for The Engineer. (When your birthday is five days after Christmas, parties tend to be "hastily planned.")

I made chili. LOTS and LOTS of chili--two large pots of turkey chili, plus a small pot of vegan chili (no meat, extra beans.) Here it all is, simmering on the stove--with a small, improvised double boiler in the back, melting chocolate for cake frosting. My stove was happy being so well-utilized!

turkey chili with vegetables

I love this chili recipe, which I got from SnoWhite's blog Finding Joy in my Kitchen. She got it from another blogger, Lucy, who got it from somewhere else.... You know how it goes! I altered it to fit our tastes, and the recipe is at the end of this post. It's chock full of veggies, and uses lean ground turkey instead of beef. It's healthy and absolutely delicious. Here is a photo of the chopped veggies I used--three recipes' worth.

turkey chili with vegetables

And the finished product...

turkey chili with vegetables

I also made Oreo Cookie Balls, with Candy Cane Oreos. These are so easy! And somehow people find them impressive, even though the ingredients are anything but fancy.

Oreo Balls

The cake...mmm. This is my go-to easy chocolate cake recipe now: Too Much Chocolate Cake. I made one recipe as directed, as a bundt cake, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

chocolate bundt cake with powdered sugar

I made the other as a two-layer round cake, with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.

chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting

And as much as I like frosting, I preferred the simple bundt cake. It was rich and delicious. (The Engineer, however, who is not generally a frosting guy, really liked the frosted cake. This frosting is not terribly sweet.)

For recipes, just click on the names of the dishes above. The chili recipe is below. Enjoy!

Turkey Veggie Chili
(Or Vegan Veggie Chili)
Modified from SnoWhite

  • 1 pound ground turkey (omit if making vegan chili)
  • Minced garlic (2-3 cloves or 1-1 1/2 teaspoons from jar)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (preferably of different colors)
  • Carrots, chopped (2 large or 10 baby-cut)
  • 1 zucchini, chopped (unpeeled)
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped (unpeeled)
  • Diced tomatoes with juices (2 regular cans or 1 large can)
  • 2 cans beans (any variety), drained and rinsed (4 cans if making vegan chili)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (use more or less to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Grated cheese (such as cheddar or monterey jack), optional (omit if making vegan chili)
  • Corn chips (such as Fritos), optional
1. Brown ground turkey with garlic in large stockpot. Drain if necessary. (Skip this step if making vegan chili, but put garlic in with the rest of the ingredients in the next step.)
2. Add remaining ingredients. Stir.
3. Cook on medium low until vegetables are soft. (Higher temperature is okay if you're in a hurry.) Simmer on low a few hours if you have the time. Stir occasionally.
4. Serve topped (if desired) with corn chips and/or cheese.


Eternal Lizdom said...

Wow! And all that was impromptu? My husband's birthday is Saturday and the only thing I've got planned is his birthday present. Ack!

Tom said...

Ohhhhhhh... I love Chili. Just hand me a spoon, and point me at the stove.

I am sure that the Engineer loved the chili, cake, and you. It's always nice to have someone close remember your birthday.

p. s. My birthday is the end of June. Please have the chili ready.

Unknown said...

The chili does look really yummy! I made the oreo balls (and the red velvet ones too) along with some other homemade goodies and gave them out as Christmas gifts this year...with an amazing response! Happy New Year my dear friend!

Mellodee said...

Many, many years ago, when we still lived in Chicago (and had tons of friends!!) We wanted to give a holiday party and we were looking for ideas. We hit upon an idea that we then used for the next 5 or 6 years. We chose one night in the week between Christmas and New Years and invited everyone to "Chili and Cheer"! It was a simple thing to put together (we only made one kind of basic chili with lots of optional add-ins,had several different desserts, and of course, a choice of beverages (beer being the leading choice). The house was still decorated and clean from Christmas, pretty much everyone was free as the hustle and bustle was done, kids were home from college and families had gathered around. It was a HUGE success. Everyone had a great time and even more folks came the next year! It became one of the anticipated gatherings of the year.

As parties go, it was inspired! Soooo easy and such fun!!

Call Me Cate said...

I've never put zucchini or squash in my chili but it looks worth a try for sure!

How many people were at this party? You made enough food (and cake) for a large ensemble!

2cats said...

Everything looks wonderfully tasty. I have never seen candy can Oreos in the stores around here. Such a shame too because I would have loved them.

Tiffany said...

Yum that Chili sounds really good I'll have to make sure to pick up those veggies next time I'm at the store and try it out. Thanks!

Our Scoop said...

Yummmmmmmy! Wow! That sounds like a great party. Happy Birthday Engineer Man!

Anonymous said...

I hope he had a wonderful birthday. The food looks delicious!

SnoWhite said...

you are making me hungry with that chili... it's so good!